Warning – NSFW Language
Following the news yesterday that Activision Blizzard would be laying off 8% of its workforce (~800 employees), discourse surrounding the decision immediately became heated as industry professionals and gamers voiced their collective disappointment and outrage.
The anger was particularly pointed due to the fact that Activision Blizzard reported record revenue for 2018, earning $7.26 billion versus $7.16 billion last year. Still, the additional $100 million fell short of the company’s expectations, according to CEO Bobby Kotick.
It’s important to note that while revenue for 2018 was strong, looking forward into the coming year, Activision Blizzard predicts a 13% decline in revenue, in part due to the…unique response to their upcoming mobile Diablo game: Diablo Immortal. Following its announcement at BlizzCon, there was no shortage of memes and anger as an entire fanbase cried out in collective rage.
A CNBC analysis this morning also pointed out that with Activision Blizzard walking away from Destiny last month, that may also account for some of the layoffs. Still, it can be hard to digest the dismissive nature with which analysts and financial professionals shrug off 800 people losing their livelihoods.
While the affected employees are largely non-developmental, included among the laid off employees are industry veterans with 10-15 years of experience under their belt, according to Kotaku editor Jason Schreier.
Activision Blizzard has said that they are taking steps to increase their development funds and increase them by approximately 20%, a move they are making with the help of this recent series of layoffs. Also, unlike some other studios, it’s being reported that the impacted employees will be receiving severance packages, including health benefits and qualification for bonuses based on last year’s performance.
With major studios producing staggering disappointments left and right, it certainly paints a bleak picture for those who may have been excited about working in the industry. Here’s hoping that the Nintendo Direct announcement this afternoon can bring us some better news.